23 April 2019
Colorado Springs installed two red light cameras at key intersections in early April with two more scheduled for installation later this year. The cameras are designed to identify drivers who enter the intersection after the light has turned red and ticket them.
There has been some outrage about this online, and at town hall meetings ever since the idea was proposed. This outrage is unwarranted.
The overall consensus in the academic community is that these types of cameras work. A study conducted in Virginia showed that red light cameras decreased the number of people who ran red lights by 67 percent. This study also showed a decrease in injuries and fatalities, and many other studies have confirmed this conclusion including studies in Europe.
Despite this fact, people have found a reason to complain about the implementation of this technology. Some people have noted that these studies have also shown an increase in minor ‘rear-end’ accidents at intersection with red light cameras.
However, these type of accidents have a much lower injury and fatality rate then the type of accidents that occur when people run red lights.
Maile Gray, executive director of Drive Smart Colorado, said, in a press conference, “Some people will say it is an increase in rear-end crashes, to which I say, rear-end crashes typically have a much less chance of severe injury and fatality. It’s those side impacts that we are really concerned about.”
Another popular complaint voiced by citizens is that these cameras are only installed to increase revenue. Increased revenue for the city shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. Especially when the revenue collected from people who are running red lights and potentially endangering innocent people’s lives.
The fine for anyone caught guilty by these cameras will only be 75 dollars, a reasonable price to pay considering lives are stake. And these tickets won’t start appearing overnight. For the first 30 days that these cameras are installed they will only issue warnings. Even when they are fully active, drivers will be given the opportunity to review the evidence and dispute any tickets they receive.
Overall these cameras will reduce harm, only punish those who are guilty, and generate revenue. Citizens should look forward to the installation of these cameras and others like these around the city.